by Chantale Denis
March 18, 2019
As a child I used to visit my grandparents in Toronto. And, when I did, I used to play tennis with a neighbor, Dan Hill, the Canadian Grammy Award Winning Singer, Songwriter and Artist, most notably famous for his passionate love songs, starting with the 1977 hit “Sometimes When We touch,” which has been played over 5 million times.
As a child, Dan of course, let me win at tennis. At the time, I was unaware of his fame or even what that really meant. To me, he was just a neighbor that was kind enough and willing to play tennis with me because I asked. He was in his 20's when we last played tennis. Through the eyes of innocence, I had asked him to marry me. He flat out said “No,” of course-- and when I asked the proverbial “Why?” he told me that I would understand when I was older. It's interesting how much we can understand as the years pass by, if we try. Nonetheless, Dan was quite right.
It was a long walk home though for a little girl, that day. But, before I knew it, the years passed and that moment in time had became a distant memory. Then, I grew up.
When I had the privilege to reconnect with him recently, I was thrilled when he autographed and penned “Marry me?!” in his book. I felt like that child all over again. This time, I walked away smiling. The kind young man remained kind. Reminiscing with reflections of our youth, I came to realize that the past doesn’t define us. It can however guide and teach us.
I am reminded that the future we choose is not always driven by opportunities or options, but rather by that little voice inside that speaks to us. Sometimes quietly and sometimes loudly. And, when we listen and are fervent enough about what we feel compelled and drawn to do, we become true to ourselves. That’s when we become our authentic selves. And that--requires inner courage.
Dan Hill is a man of humility and a man of courage who demonstrates an authenticity both in his writing and his person-hood. He is one courageously authentic kind man and I am honored to know him. He has a sense of integrity that I appreciate.
I gained some personal insight and reminders for which I am grateful for:
1. Being courageous involves risk as much as it involves facing fears and it’s in facing both
humbly where real growth begins
2. What is important to us, may not be as important to others, but that doesn’t mean that
we can’t cherish the memory
3. We can never be too old, too smart or too rich to be humble and kind
4. Humility is as important as empathy
As a Psychotherapist, I always stress the importance of empathy in relationships. Essentially though, a person either has empathy or does not have empathy. It’s nice to know that even Dan values this crucial trait.
Here’s an excerpt from an interview Dan Hill held with Divorce Magazine Updated: October 09, 2014
“I believe that to sustain a loving relationship both partners have to be able to step outside of their individual selves, as well as their respective roles in the world, and look at how they both interact from an almost analytical remove. That way, they can develop empathy for their partner and try to stand in the other’s shoes. The challenge for most husbands or wives is to see their partner’s point of view… A song from my “Intimate” CD that explores this theme is “Love Yourself.” Another song is “(Don’t Tell Me) How I Feel.” This song deals front and center with the inability of people to see beyond their own personal issues. “ For full article, click here
I would encourage you to check out his book:
“I am my Father’s Son” at Harper Collins.
It's worth the read!
It’s depth and breadth of virtues is a source of encouragement for anyone on a journey to finding their own sense of self through the storms of family dynamics.
Thanks Dan for the memories! I am deeply humbled, privileged, and honored.